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Duke and Duchess of Sussex make last appearance as working royals

  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex make last appearance as working royals
    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made their last public appearance as working members of the Royal Family. Duke and Duchess of Sussex make last appearance as working royals
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made their last public appearance as working members of the Royal Family.

Prince Harry and Meghan joined the Queen and other senior royals at a service at Westminster Abbey celebrating the 54 countries in the Commonwealth.

Harry and Meghan are expected to return to their current base in Canada and, from 31 March, will stop using their HRH titles and receiving public money.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have attended their final royal engagement this afternoon. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will officially resign from their positions on April1 and cement their move to Canada. 

The couple have joined other senior royals at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. 

The couple do not officially step down from their roles as working members of the royal family until March 31, but the service - broadcast around the globe on the BBC World Service - was the symbolic end of their life supporting the Queen.

Meghan was seen to mouth “hi” and give a small wave to William and Kate, followed by a “hello”, as the Cambridges took their seat in the High Altar in the row in front of the Sussexes.

Harry also said “hello” and smiled at his brother.

Edward partly rose to greet the Cambridges, but Sophie and the Sussexes remained seated.

Meghan later chatted animatedly to Edward as they waited for the Queen to arrive, with Harry joining in the conversation and putting his arm on the back of Meghan’s chair as he did so.

As the members of the royal family arrived they were introduced to a line of dignitaries, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but no-one shook hands as they greeted each other.

It is understood the Queen and other royals were following the protocol the Abbey has been operating under during the past few days following the coronavirus outbreak.

The Prince of Wales opted for a namaste as he was introduced to guests including Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland in the line-up.

Meghan was dressed in a glamorous green Emilia Wickstead dress with a dramatic asymmetrical cape, and hat by William Chambers with flamboyant netting, while Kate wore a red Catherine Walker outfit and a hat by Sally-Ann Provan.

In a change from last year’s event the Sussexes were shown to their seats and did not wait at the Abbey’s great west door to meet Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Queen before processing at the start of the ceremony.

The move is likely to be interpreted by commentators as their impending exit from The Firm - dubbed Megxit - although the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, unlike last year, also took their place in the 2,000-strong congregation and were not the procession through the Abbey.

When Meghan and Harry first arrived they were greeted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, and met a group of dignitaries including Mr Johnson and Baroness Scotland.

The ceremony - the Sussexes’ final public outing in their UK farewell tour - is a poignant milestone as they prepare to embark on their future away from the royal family.

From March 31, the monarch’s grandson and American former actress Meghan will no longer use their HRH styles as they pursue a new life of personal and financial freedom, mostly in North America.

On that date Meghan will bow out of royal life just one year, 10 months and 12 days - or 682 days - after marrying into the family.

She spent almost five years longer appearing on screen in the US drama Suits.